Pathological response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for muscle-invasive micropapillary bladder cancer

BJU Int. 2013 Jun;111(8):E325-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11751.x. Epub 2013 Feb 5.


Objective: To describe the pathological outcomes of patients with muscle-invasive micropapillary bladder cancer who have undergone neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Patients and methods: A total of 82 patients with muscle-invasive micropapillary bladder cancer were treated between 1997 and 2010. After excluding those with metastatic disease, micropapillary histology only at radical cystectomy (RC), and chemo-radiation as primary treatment, 44 patients remained. All patients had ≥cT2 disease before chemotherapy/surgery. The median follow-up after RC was 28 months. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was initiated in 29 (66%) patients and all patients underwent RC (93%) or partial cystectomy (7%).

Results: Micropapillary histology was diagnosed at first transurethral resection in 37 (84%) patients. Final RC pathology revealed pT0 in 15 (34%) patients and positive lymph nodes in 13 (31%) patients. Down-staging to pT0 occurred in 13 (45%) of those who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with two (13%) of those who did not (P = 0.049). Patients with pT0 disease with micropapillary histology had higher overall survival rates (25 vs. 92%) and lower rates of bladder cancer recurrence (21 vs. 79%) at the 24-month follow-up.

Conclusions: Almost half of the patients responded completely to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with a pT0 rate of 45%; therefore, patients with the micropapillary variant of urothelial carcinoma should not be excluded from consideration for neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Muscle Neoplasms / mortality
  • Muscle Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents